Google Admin Console Settings: Best Practices for Education

Google Admin Console / Getting Started / Google Admin Console: Best Practices for Education

This list of education best practices for Admin console will help you manage your school's Chrome devices like a pro! The Google Admin console can seem daunting at first, but we hope that these helpful tips and tricks will ease your worries. Although all of these settings are up to your discretion, we hope our recommendations help you efficiently manage your school and ensure you are getting the most out of your Chrome devices. If you need a quick refresher on the Google Admin console, check out this beginner's guide before you get started.

User Settings

The first set of education best practices for Admin console focuses on User settings. The User settings section of the Admin console allows you to manage user-based settings on the Chrome browser and Chrome devices. If you don't have any users in your organization yet, learn how to add users in the admin console. To navigate to User settings from the Admin console homepage click on Devices > Chrome Devices. Then click the dropdown that says Devices and click Settings. Then click User & Browser settings.

Incognito Mode

This setting determines if students can use Incognito Mode on Chrome. Setting this policy to “Disallow Incognito Mode” prevents users from opening new incognito windows. We recommend disabling this so that you are able to monitor student activity.

Incognito mode settings in the Google Admin Console user and browser settings

Incognito mode settings in the Google Admin Console user and browser settings

Browser History

This setting controls whether Chrome saves a student’s browsing history or if students can clear browser data, including their viewing and download history. We recommend updating the settings to save browser history and disable clearing history so admins can ensure students are staying on track.

Browser history and clear browser history settings in the Google Admin Console

Geolocation

This sets whether websites are allowed to track a student’s physical location. We recommend that you deny geolocation so a student’s whereabouts are never shared or tracked.

Geolocation setting in the Google Admin Console

Geolocation setting in the Google Admin Console

External Storage Devices

This setting controls whether employees can use Chrome devices to transfer data to external drives, like USB flash drives, external hard drives, optical storage, Secure Digital (SD) cards, and other memory cards. If you set this policy to “Disallow external storage” and a user attempts to connect an external drive, Chrome notifies the user that the policy is in effect. Disabling the use of external storage devices can help keep your company’s data safe and secure.

External storage devices setting in the Google Admin Console

External storage devices setting in the Google Admin Console

Safe Search and Restricted Mode

This setting specifies whether Google Safe Search or YouTube Restricted Mode is turned on for users. We recommend that you change this setting to always use Safe Search for Google Web Search queries and that you enforce at least Moderate Restricted Mode or Strict Restricted Mode on Youtube so that students can’t watch inappropriate videos.

SafeSearch and restricted mode setting in the Google Admin Console

SafeSearch and restricted mode setting in the Google Admin Console

URL Blocking

This setting prevents Chrome browsers from accessing specific URLs. To configure the policy, enter up to 1,000 URLs on separate lines. Each URL must have a valid hostname (such as google.com), an IP address, or an asterisk (*) in place of the host. The asterisk is a wildcard, representing all hostnames and IP addresses. We recommend blacklisting inappropriate or distracting URLs so students stay focused. For example, to block users from accessing Facebook, type in http://www.facebook.com in the text box.

URL blocking setting in the Google Admin Console

URL blocking setting in the Google Admin Console

Managed Bookmarks and Bookmark Bar

This setting allows you to push a preset list of bookmarks to users on Chrome on desktop and mobile devices. These bookmarks will appear in a folder on Chrome's bookmark bar. You may want to create bookmarks for your school’s online portal or different websites your students will use often. We recommend enabling the bookmark bar and disabling bookmark editing so that students can’t delete or change the bookmarks you choose.

Bookmark settings in the Google Admin Console

Bookmark settings in the Google Admin Console

Video Input

This setting specifies whether websites can access a built-in Chrome webcam. We recommend you disable video input so that your students can’t use the webcam. However, this does not disable the webcam for Google voice and video chat. To disable the webcam for Google voice and video chat, use the Allowed Apps and Extensions setting in User settings to block the following extension: hfhhnacclhffhdffklopdkcgdhifgngh.

Video input setting in the Google Admin Console

Video input setting in the Google Admin Console

Safe Browsing

This setting controls if Safe Browsing is turned on for students. Safe Browsing in Chrome helps protect users from websites that may contain malware or phishing. We recommend always enabling Safe Browsing for students and teachers.

Chrome Safe Browsing settings in the Google Admin Console

Chrome Safe Browsing settings in the Google Admin Console

Apps & Extensions

To get to this section, click the dropdown again and select Apps & Extensions.

By default, users can download any type of Chrome web app or extension they want. This setting allows you to block students and teachers from installing certain types of apps. Your admin can also choose which apps and extensions are force-installed. We recommend having the admin pick which specific apps and extensions they would like students and teachers to have access to, and block the rest. For example, if a teacher wants to block students from using the preset calculator app during a test, an admin can do that here. Make sure to have your admin check the reviews on the extension before adding it because some extension makers will spam the user.

You can find out more about the different types of apps and extensions here: Extensions, Theme, Google Apps Script, Hosted App, Legacy Packaged App, and Chrome Packaged App.

Block all other apps and extensions setting in the Google Admin Console

Block all other apps and extensions setting in the Google Admin Console

Device Settings

The next set of education best practices for Admin console focuses on Device settings. To navigate to Device settings from the Admin console homepage, click on Devices > Chrome Devices. Then click the dropdown that says Devices and click Settings. Then click Device settings.

Forced Re-enrollment

Forced re-enrollment ties the device to your domain no matter what. By default, this is set to “Force device to re-enroll into this domain after wiping”. To turn this off, select “Device is not forced to re-enroll after wiping”. This prevents students from wiping the device and enrolling it into a new domain.

Forced re-enrollment setting in the Google Admin Console

Forced re-enrollment setting in the Google Admin Console

Disabled Device Return Instructions

This setting controls the custom text on the disabled device screen. We recommend you include a return address and contact phone number in your message so that users who see this screen are able to return the device to your school.

Disabled device return instructions in the Google Admin Console

Disabled device return instructions in the Google Admin Console

Guest Mode

This setting controls whether guest browsing is allowed on managed Chrome devices. If you select “Allow guest mode” (the default), the main sign-in screen lets a person sign in as a guest. If you select “Do not allow guest mode”, a user must sign in using a Google Account or Google Workspace account. When a user signs in using guest mode, your organization's policies are not applied, so we recommend turning this setting off.

Guest mode setting in the Google Admin Console

Guest mode setting in the Google Admin Console

Sign-in Restriction

This setting lets you control which users have permission to sign in to a managed Chrome device. Its default is to Restrict Sign-in to list of users is selected. If the textbox is left empty, any user with a Google Account or Google Workspace account can sign in. However, if you include a list of usernames (domain email separated by commas) in the text box, only the named users can sign in. We recommend filling out the textbox with the wildcard *@yourdomain.com so that only users within your domain can sign-in. This will restrict students from signing in with personal accounts.

Sign-in restriction setting in the Google Admin Console

Sign-in restriction setting in the Google Admin Console

Device Reporting

This setting is on by default and specifies if Chrome devices enrolled in your domain report their current device state. Go to Devices > Chrome Devices and click on the device's serial number to see its details. You can also track recent device users by clicking on the device in your Admin console under Devices > Chrome Devices > Device Serial Number > System activity and troubleshooting. This ensures that you receive reports on the device and can track its usage.

Device reporting setting in the Google Admin Console

Device reporting setting in the Google Admin Console

The Google Admin console keeps you in charge of your school’s digital domain. With these education best practices for Admin console, you’ll be able to quickly manage your students’ user accounts and devices, so you'll have more time for what’s really important: educating the next generation.

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